Fike To Drive 2006 Busch Season in ...
Fike To Drive 2006 Busch Season in #43 Curb Agajanian Dodge With Shear as Crew Chief, Evernham Engines Powering the Way
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Saturday, Feb. 11, 2006) -- Aaron Fike is slated to be behind the wheel of the #43 Curb-Agajanian Dodge for all 35 NASCAR Busch Series events in 2006, with Joe Shear, Jr., handling crew chief duties and Evernham Engines providing the horsepower for the frist time, it was announced today by Curb Agajanian Performance Group (CAPG).
It will be the first full-time Busch series ride for the 23-year-old driver from Galesburg, Ill., now living in Indianapolis. Fike drove a total of 29 Busch series races for CAPG during the 2004 and 2005 seasons, and another seven for Brewco Motorsports in that time. He has a career-best Busch series finish of eighth last July at Pikes Peak, and a top qualifying effort of fourth at Nashville last June.
"The feeling of knowing we'll be there together, with the same crew chief, engine and driver week in and week out, can only lead to good things this season," said Fike, who earned back-to-back National Midget Driver of the Year honors in 2002 and 2003 and was the 2001 USAC Silver Crown Series Rookie of the Year. "Joe (Shear) and I worked together off and on the last two years. Adding Evernham motors will hopefully give us the consistency and reliability we'll need to get the results we're hoping for. All in all, I'm really looking forward to digging in for the long haul with the Curb Agajanian Dodge team."
For Shear, it marks a full-time run with the team he shared success with driver and fellow Wisconsin native Johnny Sauter in 2003. Crew chief for Sauter the better part of last season with the #1 Busch series entry, the two collaborated for a memorable victory at Richmond in 2003 with the #43 CAPG team, and added another victory together while with the #1 team last season. Rarely has the crew chief for a non-Nextel-Cup-affiliated Busch series team made it to Victory Lane, and Shear has now done it twice. After working alongside venerable Nextel Cup Series crew chiefs Staley Smith, Chad Knaus and Butch Hilton, Shear broke onto the national scene in 2001, working with Sauter for the first time and virtually rewriting the ASA record books with 10 wins, four poles and 13 top-three finishes in 20 races.
Under the hood, the #43 Dodge team turns to the proven power of Evernham Engines for the first time in its quest to reach Victory Lane.
"We're truly excited with this tremendous racing package we've assembled for this season and beyond," said Cary Agajanian, CAPG principal. "We've worked with Aaron on a part-time basis the last couple of years and we are true believers in his talents and ability to generate results on the racetrack. He and Joe (Shear) have laid the foundation for an excellent working relationship as they tackle the entire season together in '06, and we're expecting good things to come of it. With that, and Evernham motors powering us along the way, our Busch program should continue moving in a positive direction at an accelerated pace. Finding a full-time sponsor is a major priority for us as we start the season. Hopefully our results on the racetrack will help make that a reality in a short time, as well."
The 2006 Busch series season opens Saturday (Feb. 18) with the Hersheys Kissables 300 at Daytona International Speedway.